Michael Chabon's latest novel is Telegraph Avenue.
From his Q & A with Andrew O'Hehir at Salon:
Maybe we can talk a little about the handling of gender and sex in the book. You’ve reached into two super-duper-male narrative modes, by going into the blaxploitation movies and all the obscure record-store stuff, the jazz and funk and soul from the ‘70s. I don’t think I’m off base in saying that the influence of Quentin Tarantino and Nick Hornby is hovering in the air over this book. You’re trying to go into those ultra-male zones and make it out alive as a guy with some feminist credentials, and with a book that women will still want to read.--Marshal Zeringue
Well, actually, now that you mention it — I’m a Tarantino fan. “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown” are two of my key movies, and I love “Kill Bill” too. But he’s also a white artist who’s been accused of appropriating black modes of speech and characters and using the N-word too freely. That was another way of signaling that I know what I’m doing has a history, and it’s not always a good history and here’s another example of that ambiguity. You know, I never just wanted to tell the story of two guys in a record store. I always wanted, for my own interest as a writer, to find a way to balance it out. One of the more obvious ways to balance it out was by having some strong female characters. I’m on this never-ending quest in my writing to bring my female characters up to the level of importance and plausibility of the male characters. It’s something I’ve been struggling with since the beginning, and I feel like...[read on]